Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A voice from the past

Over the last few days, I gotten a few messages from a lady, Dixie Fritts, that I haven't seen or heard from since I was about 12 years old. She sought me out and found me on Facebook. Isn't Facebook awesome?Anyway, her message floored me and put me in a time warp of about 43 years, because I can remember going out to her family farm years ago with my Dad and my brothers. I began to reflect on those younger years, the Fritts Family, and what they have meant to me and my family.

Let's go back a few years. My Dad was always a frustrated farmer. He grew up in the city, but in his heart, I think he always longed to be a country boy. My Dad came from a very dysfunctional family. His Dad left him and his family when he was 2 and didn't look back. Pop and his sister Nicki, were then raised by his Mom, his Aunt June and Grandma Mam. Although they did their best, my Dad was restless and confused, leaving home and moving to the west coast, on his own, when he was only 15 years ago. Once he grew up a little, he moved back to Va, but was still restless about life and his place in it.

My Dad was a bit of a "wild child" to say the least in his younger years. When he met my Mom and they fell in love and got married in 1947, I think my Dad began to have the stability that he longed for. First, my brother Mike was born in 1950 and then I was born in 1955, (brother Robert followed in 1962). Dad was happier but still struggling with his demons, and turning to alcohol was his way of coping. He was out of control and needed to change his behavior. Mom made it clear he was going to lose everything that had become so important to him if he didn't get some help. Thank you Mom for having the strength to protect your family.

God had his hand on my Dad and he didn't even know it. Isn't that the way it always is? Our Heavenly Father watches down with loving eyes from above and sends His angels where and when they are needed. Enter a man named Louis Fritts who helped bring my Dad to his knees and to the Lord.

Dad's life totally changed when he received Jesus Christ as his personal savior. And because this one man, reached out in Jesus' powerful name to my father, his life was thankfully, never the same. I, for one, also believe that Mr. Fritt's testimony to my Dad about Jesus changed the entire course of my life and the life of our entire family, as well.

Instead of coming from an alcoholic family, my brothers and I were raised in a Godly family. With Mr. Fritts help and mentoring, my Dad became a man of God, instead of being a sloppy drunk spinning out of control and taking the rest of us with him.

My Dad held Bible studies in our home, and he taught us about Jesus and his love. Pop was always a family man, but now, instead of being out carousing at the bars, he was home spending time with his family. He came home every night, just like clockwork Although I was too young to remember him in his drinking days, I'm happy to say that my Dad's encounter with Jesus all those years ago changed him and he has remained that way for the remainder of his life. Miraculously, Pop's change also changed all of our lives too.

Once a month on the weekend, Dad would take us kids out to the Fritt's family farm in Fairfax. We would spend the day picking corn out of the fields, digging up cabbage and pulling potatoes out of the ground. We got to know the family well. Even though at times, I can recall that I would much rather be doing anything but doing that on the weekends for fun, (especially as I got older); it was good for me, it was good for us, and it was GREAT for my Dad. He was strengthening his love for his family and for the Lord.

So, hearing from Dixie, one of Mr. Fritt's daughters, after all these many years, brought back some very fond memories for me. She told me she always remembered our family and wondered what happened to us. She said that my Dad was very special to them. She also told me that the Lord often put me on her heart to pray for me, even though she didn't know where I was or what I was going through. God told her and she did it. Maybe it was during that time that I was going through my MS diagnosis, 13 years ago? I don't know, we'll have to have more conversations, but it just reminded me of the Lord's awesome power. He is everywhere and knows everything about everybody!

Dixie told me that both of her parents have passed on now, but all of the kids feel blessed by the wonderful legacy of Jesus Love that their parents passed on to them. And I knew immediately that legacy also includes our family, whose lives were changed forever by their father's strong love of the Lord, and his willingness to share that love with another struggling man. It truly is amazing how the Lord can use his disciples to reach others struggling with life. We really are the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth.

                                                       Mike, Robert, Dad, Nicki and Mom on 
                                                                           Mom's 80th Birthday. May 29, 2008

So, thanks Dixie....thanks for contacting me, thanks for remembering me. Thank you for reaching out to me in Jesus name. I look forward to getting to know you again. I am looking forward to sharing my love of Jesus right back to you!

My verse for today is from Matthew 28:16-20 about Jesus' Great Commission to his disciples, wherein he began his church:
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

My prayer for today:

Dearest Heavenly Father:

Oh God, you are so good. Thank you for Mr. Fritts and his life and legacy of love for you. Thank you for his personal testimony about Jesus that changed the course of life for our entire family. Thank you that this one man took your commandment to tell others about your love so seriously. Thank you that he shared the Good News about Jesus Christ with our Dad. Thank you for the Fritts Family and their reaching out to our family all those years ago. Please continue to watch over and protect them with your loving arms of comfort. Help them to continue their father's legacy of love and continue with your great commission!

In Jesus Name I pray,

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